Biography

Birth date: 16 August 1894
Birth place: United Kingdom: Wales, Flintshire, Buckley
Death date: 21 September 1917
Death place: Western Front: Western Front (Belgium), Menin Road Area, Glencorse Wood
Final rank: Second Lieutenant
Service number: 47 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 2nd Australian Field Ambulance

Frederick Birks (1894-1917) was born in North Wales, and migrated to Australia in 1913. He held different jobs before enlisting in August 1914. He was posted to the medical corps and served as a stretcher-bearer on Gallipoli; he was wounded in June 1915. In France next year he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery.

Having been selected for officer-training, Birks was commissioned in the 6th Battalion, AIF, in May 1917. On 20 September, during the battle of Menin Road, Birks and a corporal attacked a German pillbox which was holding up the advance; the corporal was wounded but Birks went on, killing those in the pillbox and capturing a machine-gun. Later he led a small party against another strongpoint, capturing 16 men and killing or wounding nine others. The following day, while trying to rescue some of his men who had been buried by an explosion, the brave officer was killed by a shell. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross; the award was accepted by his brother, who was serving in the British army.

Birk received the Victoria Cross, a Military Medal, and service medals for the First World War.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Date of Death: 21 September 1917
  • Unit: 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 19 October 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne
  • Recommended for: Military Medal
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Medal
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Military Medal
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 6th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Military Medal
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Timeline

Date of birth 1894-08-16
Other 1913 Migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1914-08-18 2 Field Ambulance.
Date of embarkation 1914-10-19 Sailed for Egypt.
Date wounded 1915-06-20 Wounded at Gallipoli.
Date promoted 1916-04 Promoted to Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-06-10
Date of honour or award 1916-07 Awarded the Military Medal for consistant good service in the operation at Pozieres by General Birdwood.
Date promoted 1916-08 Promoted to Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-09-09
Date promoted 1917-04-26 Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and moved to the 6th Battalion.
Date of honour or award 1917-09-20 Awarded the Victoria Cross for action at Glencorse Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium whilst serving with 6 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Second Lieutenant.
Date of death 1917-09-21
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-09-27